Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fabulous French Find!

From my Fabulous French Find
The Arc de Triomphe and a fountain at Versailles

Friday night I was preparing for my Sunday workshop, "Mind Your Own Beeswax." This was a basic encaustic class, including collage. While I was collecting and printing images I wished I had more images of Paris.

The next day while I was downtown I popped into the Goodwill store across from the Central Library, just to see if they had any cool stuff in. There, displayed on the counter, was an old photograph album. It seemed to have pictures of Paris. From what I could see, it had a bunch of vintage tinted photos of Paris and environs and seemed to have a lot else, too. I started to get excited, you know, that thrill when you think you have a find, but want to play it cool?

I nonchalantly asked the clerk if this item on display might be for sale. She found the price (very reasonable) and I grabbed the album, paid for it, and gloated all the way home.

Mais, certainement, the album had the most famous icon of all. It also had a lot of photos from the Liberation of Paris from the Nazis in 1945. At first I thought these were candid shots and I should turn the album over to an historian. It seems, however, that the album was made by an American who bought the pictures from a now-defunct company. (I checked--my photographer daughter made me do it...)

Below is a photograph of Parisians dancing in the streets into the wee hours to celebrate the Liberation.

The album has photographs and cards of Lourdes, many towns in France and Switzerland, lots of nature. especially huge cataracts of water, and much more.

The album keeper visited the monument of Fort de Vaux at Verdun, a relic of WWI. I'd never heard of Ft. de Vaux. Here's what I found when I looked it up online:

A major monument is the Fort de Vaux, 4km east of Fleury where, after six days' hand-to-hand combat in the confined, gas-filled tunnels, the French garrison, without food or water, were left with no alternative but surrender. On the exterior wall of the fort a plaque commemorates the last messenger pigeon sent to the command post in Verdun, vainly asking for reinforcements. Having safely delivered its message, the pigeon expired as a result of flying through the gas-filled air above the battlefield. It was posthumously awarded the L├ęgion d'Honneur.

There are several haunting pictures of this tunnel fort in the album.

Close to the end of the album I found some actual "home-made" snapshots.

Here we seem to have an early post-war band in a nightclub of sorts. Below some couples enjoy the music and beer.

I'm just too curious about these people. Who were they? What kind of lives did they have?

This album is certainly providing me with lots of ideas for future projects!

This photo is my favorite. Here's an army medical unit--they remind me of M*A*S*H.

I love these guys! Quel savoir-faire!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

With a little help from our friends and meeting a new friend we hadn't expected

Actually with a lot of help from two lovely friends, my partner and I have begun to dig ourselves out of the chaos that has ensued the last couple of years with both of us running our own businesses. My dear friend Sally came on Saturday to help me clean up and organize my home studio, and our dear friend Brenda came to help clear out the back yard.

Sometimes I really have to make an effort to let people help. It's much easier to help someone than to let someone do nice things for you just because they want to. I'm glad I could accept Sally's wonderful help and enthusiasm. Here I have been trying to get ready for my upcoming show at Onda Gallery and I've been trying to work in a total mess! It was overwhelming...

Here's Sally after we've pulled everything off the counters and shelves. You can't see her face because her halo is so big!

Messy, sticky, encaustic area (before)

Not much can be done about my Jackson Pollack floor, but Sally did say it was cool

The mess worsens. Will it really get better?

One wall of the studio (after) Gee, the work looks better on the wall, instead of down on the Pollack floor with a mess around it.

Cleaned up encaustic area with walls neatly decorated

Painting on the easel--what a concept!

I actually used my encaustics today!

A section of the back yard cleared out by Dot and Brenda. The garage in the background is eventually going to be my new studio.

Thanks again, kind friends!

We had to say goodbye to our 17 year old Emma cat a few months ago. We still have her age-mate Sophie who seems to be doing okay except for being a cantankerous old lady. I have sworn I would not have any more cats after Sophie leaves us. Sworn up and down, over my dead body, etc. I've loved our kitties, but they have not been easy personalities in some ways. (We of course, are totally easy to live with...)

So, you know how it is after you say you'll never do something. You do it. We have been adopted by the black cat shown below. We know she is a girl, but that's about all. We need to have the vet tell us if she is "fixed", how old, healthy, etc. She seems to like to use the outside for her potty, unlike our cats. She doesn't have an endless need for food and attention as Emma did. She doesn't meow constantly as Sophie does. So, okay, we have another cat!

As yet unnamed black kitty

Sunday, June 8, 2008

In Which I am Ill for Two Weeks and Counting, But Good Things Happen Anyway

Homeric Pear: collage sold at Jovie in Nye Beach, Newport OR along with two pear paintings

This is a long post. Feel free to take a refreshment break if you need to!

Those of you who know me know that I tend to get colds and flu more than the average person. I attribute this to the huge quantities of antibiotics I consumed as a child and generally lousy heredity in that regard. Imagine how pleased I've been to have had a cold that turned into bronchitis. This is why I've been absent from blog-land for a while. Thanks to my naturopath, I am getting better.

When I'm not feeling well, I try to be careful not to believe much of what I think. My mind loves to torment me with negative thoughts when I'm at my weakest. This time those gremlins didn't get much foothold, as lots of exciting art things have been happening in my life, even as I cough and wheeze.

One negative thought I've had for awhile is about my recently slow art sales. "It's the recession", I whined, "No one's gonna buy art now, wah." Despite this wallowing, I have sold five, maybe six pieces in the last two weeks. I sold three small pear pieces and a midsize painting of artist Marietta Robusti. Thanks to Veronica and Jodi at the magical Jovi in Nye Beach!

Marietta Robusti : Acrylic on Canvas

This encaustic, one of my all time favorites, has left for New York.

Il Destino Encaustic/Collage on Panel

While sneezing and snorting I received the wonderful news that I will be teaching at Art & Soul Retreats in 2009! At least, I'll be teaching at one--don't know about the others yet. I'll be teaching two workshops at Abigail's Retreat to be held here in Portland next February. This is a brand new option: Adults can take the classes along with their 6 and over offspring. The classes are open to other adults as well. Thanks to Glenny and the other jury members--I'm way excited!

Curtain Going Up!

The curtain will soon go up on my show at Onda Gallery in the Alberta District. The show will be called: Driven to Extremes. I'll feature queens, nuns, courtesans, and poets-- all women who found themselves outside the mainstream.

The show opens the Last Thursday of July and will be up for the month of August. I have some of the work prepared, but am further insulting my bronchial system by inhaling oil paint and wax as I frantically work to deadline. Below is a closeup of a work very much in progress. I have just started it with Interactive acrylics; a brand that stays wet longer and comes in glorious colors. Get it at Muse Art/Design. If you buy six tubes you get an introductory set of mediums to make your paint dry slower, faster, smoother, etc.

As yet untitled portrait of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (detail). Sor Juana was considered the national poet in Mexico in the 17th century. (This is a work in progress.)

Now this next piece in progress is one of those where you think they're going to go quickly without too much trouble. And then it doesn't happen that way at all and you work on it over and over until you are sick of it. Several times I thought I had it only to wreck it by a false brushstroke. Ok--I started out with the sketch below.

Simple, huh? Done the hard part with the figure, right. Uh-uh. I called my painter friend, Chris, and asked her, "Why do we ruin our paintings?" She said, in her British accent, "It's elves, dear." That being made clear, I moved from acrylic to oil, thinking that might help. Here it is in its present incarnation, all sticky with oil and medium. Doubtless there will be more changes, but my mantra for the next few days is: "Let it dry, let it dry..."

A painting of 16th century Venetian poet and courtesan, Veronica Franco. Still in progress...

First Friday at The Art of Your Life was a blast. This was the first show for accomplished painter, Cynthia Tierney. We had a huge turnout and Cindy's paintings sold like hotcakes. I am so thrilled to have been able to provide Cindy's first exhibit.

The two pieces below are some of Cindy's work.

Jennifer and Adam take a break from viewing to color in The World's Largest Sketchbook.

Cindy's two lovely daughters cope with having their portraits on display.

Some viewers stayed late and chatted about art, astrology, and Many Things...

This cool picture of guests around the food source came out looking all black when I unloaded it from the camera. I equalized it and wha-ha: a grainy avant-garde, tres Parisien photo..

A Couple from the Past hung in the show

Here's my purchase, called "Looking into Vermeer." You can't tell from this photo, but Cindy painted the book so well, that a Vermeer lover like myself could immediately recognize his "View of Delft" on the right.

Water color portrait of one of Cindy's daughters.

Another of Cindy's daughters views her portrait for the first time